If you play the violin, the viola, or even the fiddle than there will probably come a time where you want to start sharing your talent with the world and take the big step to start gigging. When that moment comes you will probably discover that, unless you play the electric violin, you need to mic up your instrument if you have a hope of getting heard.
This can be a daunting prospect, especially if this is the first mic you’ve had to buy for your violin and some musicians will be put off performing altogether. Luckily, this handy guide is there to make the whole process a whole lot less stressful. With reviews of the top 5 best mics for the violin, a buyers guide to take you through some of the things worth thinking about and a useful FAQ section to answer a few of the big questions, you’ll easily find the right mic for you and your violin without any of the stress.
Top 5 Best Violin Mics
OUR TOP PICK
If you’re looking for something affordable and easy to use than this could be the right option for you. Designed for everyone no matter their experience to be able to use this piezo can be easily clipped to your violin’s f-holes where it will pick up the vibrations on the surface creating a nice bright sound. The clips are fitted with rubber to ensure that there is no damage to the surface of the violin and for easy removal after you’re finished performing. Very lightweight thanks to being made of plastic, it also doesn’t need any batteries to run, but is instead connected to a 2.5m cable with a standard quarter jack that connects easily into a variety of amps.
The lead might feel a little short, but in a small venue or practicing at home, you shouldn’t encounter any difficulties. It’s able to eliminate external noise meaning you shouldn’t encounter feedback and helps create a nice clear sound. You may find that this option does take away a little from the aesthetic of your performance as it covers the body of the violin when you clip it on and it may be that you prefer something a bit more subtle. But this is a great option for a beginner trying to find their best performance in front of an audience, it’s easy to use and won’t get in the way of your playing. Most importantly it’ll project a great sound, that’ll help build your confidence until you’re ready for something a bit more advanced.
Easy to use and designed to be clipped on and off without damage to your instrument
2.5m lead should be more than enough for a small stage or for practicing at home
Good clear sound
Massively reduces external noise and feedback
You’re going to want to upgrade this to something that allows you a little more control to your sound as you progress, but it’s well worth considering if you’re just starting to need to amplify your sound as you play.
If you’re looking for something a bit more advanced than this could be the one for you, another piezo this option clips nicely onto the bridge, than a small box is attached to the side of the body of your violin. This ebony box has an output for a jack where you can attach your own lead meaning you can pick the length and quality that suits you. The box itself is compact and a lot more subtle than options like the Cherub, while the clips are lined with cork to protect your instrument’s body and ensure there’s no damage while you play. The tone is warm and clear and really amplifies what’s already there in your violin.
There are no controls on the actual mic itself, so you’ll need to use your amp to really create the sound you're looking for, and some players do find they want something that doesn’t attach to the bridge to give yourself more options in tone and for live experimentation. If you’ve been playing for a while and want something a bit more professional, but don’t think you’re yet at a point where you want to spend a lot, this model really gives you a professional feel without having to break the bank. The personalized lead options give you a chance to really experiment with the movement in your performance and you can begin to think about the kind of performer you want to be with this model.
Easy to use
Lets you pick your own lead length so you can begin to experiment with movement onstage
Cork covered clips for protection
Warm and clear tone
Compact ebony box with jack output
No EQ or volume control so full control of your sound depends on your amp. This won’t bother beginner’s too much but practiced musicians may want something with a bit more control
- Delivers the natural sound of your violin or viola
- Wooden sensor casing is lightweight, unobtrusive and installs in the eye of the bridge with minimal modification
- Detachable, or may remain installed when not in used
- Accepts 1/4" cable jack
Another piezo, this affordable option is clipped onto the bridge then connected to a jack output contained in a small, black case. What makes this an interesting option for the gigging musician is that it includes a feedback rejection feature which ensures that your violin’s sound is accurately reproduced thanks to a clear and isolated signal. This model also features a wideband frequency response within the box which adds to the clarity of the sound produced. It’s an extremely easy option to connect to your instrument and it’s very subtle if the aesthetics of your violin are important to you and you want to show them off in performance.
The pickup is clipped on with a holder that doesn’t need tools to use, while the output jack is connected with a metal clip onto the body of the instrument. If you’re looking for a clear, transparent sound without needing to spend a lot of time attaching equipment to your instrument or moving heaven and earth to afford it then this could well be what you’re looking for. It doesn’t have internal EQ or volume controls, so professional players or those of an advanced skill might want something with more immediate control, but most amateurs or intermediates will find this a great option.
- Easy to use without the need for tools to clip on
- Clear, transparent sound designed to showcase the best of your instrument
- Feedback rejection feature included
- Includes and output to plug in your own jack for freedom of movement
- Subtle and shows off the looks of your violin
- No volume or EQ controls for immediate control over your sound
- Clamps easily to the violin bridge and connects via cable to the 3100P output jack. Offers wide band frequency response and excellent string balance.
- Feedback rejection feature provides excellent signal isolation for clear, true reproduction of the violin's sound.
- No additional tools or holes to drill - making attachment and removal a breeze.
If you’re looking for something easy to use that sounds great then this is a pickup system that attaches to your violin with Velcro, which unlike a clip or mount drastically reduces the risk of damage to your violin. It also means that the full sound of your violin is picked up intuitively with a large dynamic range. This is a passive system which doesn’t need batteries to run or tools to attach it with, all you need to do is attach it with the velcro and plug in a jack to the output on the top and you’re ready to go!
The Velcro fastening will eventually wear out and need to be replaced, but this is very easily done at little cost. The excellent sound and dynamic capabilities of this model make it a great option for those of an advanced skill level who want something easy to take on and off. If you’re looking for something to fit easily in with the instruments aesthetic this isn’t the best option, but the sound quality more than makes up for its looks and your performance will definitely improve as you use it.
Easy to attach without the need for tools
An amazing sound that shows off your instrument
Uses Velcro which reduces the risk of damage
A passive system which doesn’t need batteries
Picks up the full range of your violin’s sound
Not the best in terms of looks, but the sound quality more than makes up for it
- Easy instant fitting and transferability
- Warmth and clarity of tone
- Reduced feedback and body boom
- No bowing nose
- No batteries required - Plugs directly into mixing desk or combo amp
If you’re looking for something small and subtle that will amplify your violin without distracting from its looks than this is the way to go. This is an active system which means that it runs on a pre-installed Lithium battery which is one of the reasons its such a small subtle system. It works like a small microphone that your clip on to the instrument, and because it has a flexible gooseneck you can position it where you want to. This gives you more control over tone as you can pick the place on the violin that produces the tone you want. A lead then runs to a small pre-amp that you can clip onto your belt or put in your pocket, the amp has a small volume knob which lets you control the output and lets you make adjustments to your performance as you play from the stage.
The system faithfully amplifies your sound without any of the harshness of similar systems that might lose your violin’s natural clarity of sound. Looks-wise, it’s so discreet that it’s barely noticeable and on a larger stage the audience probably won’t see a thing, which is great if preserving your instrument’s natural aesthetic is important to you. It’s particularly good for classical musicians for whom traditional looks can be important for audience immersion. This is the perfect system for the performer who wants immediate control, amazing transparent sound, and to preserve the natural look for their instrument. You probably won’t find a better way to amplify your sound without getting an electric violin, so it’s well worth a look.
Discreet and subtle, the perfect way to preserve the natural look of the violin
The clear and transparent tone
Gives you control over your sound live on stage
The battery will last for hundreds of hours and won’t suddenly die on you
The unit is very light which allows you more freedom of movement while playing
Runs on batteries which will eventually run down
- Myers Pickups introduces their new lightweight powerhouse. So light that we named it The Feather. So compact that it can be positioned on a multitude of instruments without modification or permanent installation and still faithfully amplifies the natural tone and beauty of your instrument!
- Fully equipped with an internally powered, active preamp to produce the richest sound your instrument can deliver! Power-source (included) is pre-installed and each pickup is meticulously tested before delivery. No phantom power needed! Compatible with most wireless systems!
- Complete out of the box, plug in and play! All mounting hardware included. Instantly turn your instrument into an acoustic/electric instrument with volume! Compatible with almost any musical instrument! Made in the USA.
- (Instrument not included)
Best Violin Mic Buying Guide
Hopefully, you’ll now have a bit more of an idea of the systems available to you, and what sort of thing might suit you and your style of playing. But, it might be that this is your first foray into the world of violin mics and you want a bit more general information before you make a decision. It’s also worth knowing a few things to think about before you make a purchase, so you can rest easy knowing you’ve made the best choice for you.
Picking the best method of pickup
First of all, you should figure out what sort of system you're looking for. A violin microphone is called a pickup, which might seem confusing because a pickup system could be a mic, an entirely new bridge with a transducer inside, or a stick-on piezo. The important thing to remember is they all do the same job, they take the sound made by your violin and convert into a signal which can then be ‘picked-up’ by an amp and projected out. The alternative to a pickup system is an electric violin, but you might find this expensive and time consuming to find the right one for you. A pickup system is a much cheaper method of amplifying your violin, and you won’t have to get to grips with an entirely new instrument. If you’re an ensemble than a pickup system is a great way to amplify solo parts over the rest of the group because they can be easily fitted onto a different instrument or transferred to different sections as you need. Solo artists also like a pickup system because it gives you a louder sound without feedback.
Piezo, magnetic or micro-goose
Deciding the type of system, you want is important and you’re likely to pick either a piezo, magnetic, or a micro-goose system. They all come in a range of different prices so thinking about what sort of venue you’ll be playing, the type of look you want when you perform and the sound quality you want are all valuable ways to pick the right product for you. Piezo’s work by picking up the vibration from your instrument’s surface and create a bright sound. Some players find the sound piezo’s produce slightly harsh, but many love working with them because they’re so easy to attach to their instruments and they can produce a high-quality sound. The position you place the piezo will affect the sound, for example, one placed nearer the f-holes will produce a deeper sound than if placed behind the bridge. Professional players generally lean more towards magnetic pickups because they’re more sensitive to dynamics than piezos and can produce a warmer sound. Magnetic pickups are modulated by the vibrations of the strings for a varying output which depends on the dynamics of your playing. They tend to be more expensive, so think about how often you plan to perform to make sure you get the value for your money. Finally, micro-goose pickups are the most natural-sounding option and are very versatile. They work as very small mics attached to a pre-amp that allows you to control the sound live on-stage. They’re great for experimentation and are very adjustable which allows you a lot of control over your performance. They also tend to be subtler in terms of appearance than piezo or magnetic options, so if that’s something that’s important to you than these might be just what you’re looking for.
Active or passive?
It’s also worth considering if you want an active or a passive system that will suit different performers in different ways. Passive systems don’t need batteries and they produce electric currents themselves so they can be used straight away, the amp is then in control of shaping the sound which can be useful or not depending on your experience with amps. Active systems require a battery but don’t need an amp as they fulfill the function themselves. Their tone is more consistent, and you won’t need to shape the sound using external equipment.
How expensive is it to mic a violin?
Pickup systems come in a range of budgets, so you don’t need to worry about finding something in your price range. Focus on what you want to be able to do with your violin and the rest will follow
How do you mic a violin?
As you’ve seen there are all sorts of ways to amplify your sound, whether you want something easy to clip on and attach to an external amp, or something a bit more compact. Keep in mind what sort of performance you want to give your audience and you’re sure to find the perfect system for you.